21st Century job hunting

More PAs and secretaries then ever before are using the net to find that perfect job. Equally, recruiters are searching online for the perfect candidate. We look at how to get the best from an online CV and seek advice from Karl Gregory of iprofile.org about protecting your identity from online fraud.

By Jane Olsen

The internet has made many common tasks more efficient and applying for a job is no exception. However, while going online can make your job search easier, quicker and more successful, there are some points you should bear in mind when crafting the perfect CV for the web:

How does an online CV differ from an ordinary CV?

There are a few differences between regular CVs and CVs written for the web. This is because of the way your CV is searched online by potential recruiters. Therefore, when writing a web CV you need to consider the following points:-

Compatibility: Your CV should be uploadable on to any computer - old or new - so do not use the latest software in typing it as older computers may not be able to read it. To overcome compatibility problems consider providing a copy of your CV in plain text format (ASCII).

Plain text format CVs do not contain bullets, italics, bold, underlining, fancy fonts or columns etc., and therefore your beautifully laid out CV could end up looking like gibberish. To avoid this, see Formatting a text-only CV

Once completed, test it to make sure that it looks ‘right’, by sending it to yourself and friends in an email. Never send it as an attachment.

Keywords: Perspective employers use keywords to search CVs and data bases. If you don’t have the right keywords in your CV, then you won’t get a look-in.

Think about the words you would use to find a job for example, Senior level PA, resourceful Team Secretary, skilled meetings, conferences and event organiser, proficient in all Microsoft Office packages, multi tasker with ability to prioritise.

Use as many different keywords and phrases incorporating keywords that are relevant as you can in your CV and the job you are applying for. Include keywords and actions words which are specific to your skill set, abilities, the industry, your experience, achievements and the job advertised.

Don’t forget, as with all CVs, there’s a direct relationship between keywords and achievements, i.e keywords can be tied to achievements rather than job duties. For example the difference between ‘travel manager’ and ‘successfully planned, managed and organised the travel itineraries of 200 people worldwide attending a conference in New York’.

Out-of-date CVs can hold you back:

On the whole, the majority of DeskDemon users tend to update their CVs regularly. However, according to Karl Gregory, Marketing Director of online CV provider www.iProfile.org, for PAs and secretaries who don’t, there’s a strong chance recruiters and potential employees will hold an out-of-date copy, which can lead to missed opportunities and even a lower salary. It’s well worth looking for an online tool that allows you to update your CV as often as you like and recruiters can immediately see the new version without you having to resend it

What about my identity?

With a dizzying array of job and career sites to chose from (there are over 300 CV & career sites in the UK) it’s hard to keep track of where your CV has gone and who can see it. “Beware - ID fraudsters are on the look out for your personal information,” says Gregory, “this can be used to impersonate you and may lead to a shopping spree on your account!” Here are his hints and tips to help protect your identity when applying for jobs online:

  • Keep good records: It’s easy to forget where you’ve posted your CV, which makes it hard to delete it when it’s no longer needed. To avoid any confusion it’s better to chose a site which records who you’ve sent your CV to and some will even show you if they’ve read it
  • Make sure you can delete your CV: Before you post a CV, check to make sure you can delete it when you’re no longer looking for a job. Some sites allows you to choose exactly where your CV goes and you can block or remove access at any time - so it can’t be viewed by anyone you haven’t given permission to
  • Hide your personal details: Your CV describes a big chunk of your life and could reveal key information such as your address, working history, phone number and date of birth. Using information found on other sites, such as Facebook, it can be enough for fraudsters to impersonate you. Ideally, chose a CV site that hides these details, some can even give you an alternative phone number
  • Post your resume sparingly: It is tempting to go to every job site you can find and post your resume. Focus on quality, not quantity. Hand-pick just a few sites that allow you to control where your information goes and have a good track record
  • Use a disposable email address: If you want to include your email address on your CV or post your resume to a site that does not allow you to mask your identity, then mask it yourself. Use an email address that you can cancel if you start getting spam
  • Omit references on your resume: When you post a resume online with your references' names and phone numbers on it, you are giving their information away without their consent in what can be a very public forum

Remember, in the information economy your CV and accompanying personal information has a "street value." It is important to protect this information from people and businesses who want to use it primarily to make a profit instead of helping you find employment.

Karl Gregory joined iProfile in November 2007 following a career spanning blue chip companies, start ups and world-class internet brands, including Yahoo! www.iprofile.org is the preferred CV template for many recruitment agencies. More secure then Word CV, you can control who sees your iProfile; update recruitment agencies as you require, giving you complete control over the job-seeking process. You can receive feedback from recruiters ensuring that you are made aware of relevant job opportunities and updates made to an iProfile are instantly transmitted to all the iProfile-compatible recruitment companies ensuring they never hold an out-of-date copy.

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